OSU Chabad Launches Student Ambassadors To Israel

by Fay Kranz Greene - COLUMBUS, OH

October 31, 2003

Jewish tradition says that G-d created humankind with a singular individual to teach us that one person can profoundly affect the entire world. The Chabad House at Ohio State University in Columbus is hoping that fifty-six Student Ambassadors for Israel will make a profound change on how Israel is viewed on college campuses.

The Jewish student groups, led by OSU Chabad House, named 56 Student Ambassadors who will spend the next year learning about Israel and how to advocate effectively for the country, said Rabbi Aryeh Kaltmann, executive director of OSU Chabad House.

The ambitious program was planned to counter what the Chabad rabbis say is a paucity of real information about Israel by both Jewish and non-Jewish students. It was planned well before the announcement recently of a pro-Palestinian conference scheduled for November 7-9, which brings an added sense of urgency to the pro-Israel campaign.

Rabbi Zalman Deitsch, OSU Chabad director says that seventy five percent of the community simply does not know the elementary facts about Israel. This is a two-pronged educational program. We need to teach them what to say and how to say it.

To that end, they called upon OSU Political Science professor Don Sylvan and Harvard professor and attorney Alan Dershowitz, author of “The Case for Israel,” to kick off the inaugural event, which attracted more than 1000 people.

Dershowitz met privately with the student ambassadors and spoke to them about the importance of what they re doing. “There is a double standard against supporters of Israel,” Dershowitz said. “I have no problem with criticisms of Israel. What I have a problem with is criticism of Israel without criticism of the Palestinians. All we want students to do is to hear both sides.”

On November 5th, the student ambassadors will be addressed by well-known media agent Ronn Torossian. He will zero in on the key messages and talking points to effectively advocate for Israel.

We believe in the trickle-down effect says Rabbi Deitsch. "If we can get 56 knowledgeable people out there, disseminating the right information, sharing it with other students, it can be the pivotal action that will change the way the United States looks at Israel and hopefully even lead to real peace."

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